Nov 12, 2010

#BDS: Major Dutch pension fund divests from occupation

The major Dutch pension fund Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn (PFZW), which has investments totaling 97 billion euros, has informed The Electronic Intifada that it has divested from almost all the Israeli companies in its portfolio.

PGGM, the manager of the major Dutch pension fund PFZW, has adopted a new guideline for socially responsible investment in companies which operate in conflict zones.

In addition, PFZM has also entered into discussions with Motorola, Veolia and Alstom to raise its concerns about human rights issues. All three companies have actively supported and profited from Israel's occupation of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip.

Over the past few years, activists in the Netherlands have questioned the two largest pension funds PFZW and ABP about their holdings in companies profiting from the Israeli occupation of Palestine. In September 2009, the Norwegian State Pension Fund decided that it would no longer invest in companies that directly contribute to violations of international humanitarian law. By February 2010, ABP, the largest Dutch pension fund, informed The Electronic Intifada it had also divested from the Israeli company Elbit Systems. At the same time, PFZW confirmed that it held shares in Elbit Systems worth 1.6 million euros.

#BDS: BT and Israel

As BT announces its half-year profits, we call on the company to end its complicity in the illegal occupation of Palestinian land and cut its partnership with Israeli telecommunications firm Bezeq International. BThas allowed Bezeq International to join its exclusive alliance programme, affording preferential access to BT's products and services. Bezeq provides telecommunication services to Israel's illegal settlements, which are widely condemned as obstacles to peace (Report, 10 November). By allowing Bezeq into the alliance programme, BT is supporting the infrastructure which enables illegal Israeli settlements to exist. BT will remain complicit in Israel's breaches of international law unless it cuts all ties with Bezeq International immediately.
John Hilary, War on Want Rev Canon Garth Hewitt, Amos trust Hugh Lanning, Palestine Solidarity Campaign Diana Nelsen, Jews for Justice for Palestinians Ken Loach Mark Thomas

#BDS: Authors speak out against cultural boycott

Joseph Finder and Jeremy Blachman say Israeli citizens should not be punished, international media and Israeli government are to blame

Are authors set to join musicians, and most recently, filmmakerMike Leigh in boycotting Israel ? After a wave of cancellations from musicians like the Pixies and Elvis Costello, who decided to boycott Israel, the question on everyone's lips is what will happen, if anything in the book market?

British author Iain Banks, writer of The Wasp Factory has decisively declared that his manuscripts would not be translated into Hebrew, but Banks seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

Even author Henning Mankell, who was on the Mavi Marmara, isn't certain that boycotting helps send the messages he believes in. Publisher "Dani Books" did meet with one over-idealistic publisher, but other than that it would seem that the publishing world and music world operate on different levels.

#BDS: Bon Jovi to perform in Israel?

Legendary rock band in negotiations over Israeli stop on its European tour for spring 2011

Legendary rock band Bon Jovi is expected to perform in Israelfor the first time: Though the contract is not yet finalized, Israeli producers are reportedly close to signing the band for a performance that will take place on April 27, possibly at Tel Aviv's Bloomfield Stadium.

In the spring of 2011 Bon Jovi will be on its European tour for its latest album, The Circle, which will make the trip to Israel a likely event.

Unlike recent performances from musicians who many say are past their prime, like Elton John, Rod Stewart and the upcoming visit from Guns and Roses, Bon Jovi is currently at one of its most successful periods, making more than $210 million on its last tour in 2007-2008 - more than any other band that year.